The Mariners are set to sign right-hander Cory Abbott to a minor league contract, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. The Dynamic Sports Group client will be in big league camp during spring training and compete for a roster spot. He’d be paid at an $800K rate in the majors, MLBTR has learned.
Abbott, 28, has logged big league time in each of the past three seasons, combining for 104 1/3 innings between the Cubs and Nationals. He’s struggled to a 6.02 ERA in that time while posting worse-than-average strikeout and walk rates of 20.2% and 11.4%.
A second-round pick by the Cubs back in 2017, Abbott posted lights-out numbers in the low minors and up through the Double-A level, but he’s struggled both in the big leagues and in Triple-A, where he carries a 5.45 ERA in three seasons. That said, Abbott has fanned a hefty 28.7% of his opponents at the Triple-A level and isn’t all that far removed from being a prospect of some note within the Cubs’ system; Baseball America ranked him 13th or better among Chicago farmhands each year from 2019-21, topping out at No. 8 in the system back in 2019.
The Mariners have regularly shown an ability to take journeyman arms and convert them into quality pieces of the pitching staff in recent years. Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider were both signed as minor league free agents before breaking out as key bullpen pieces in Seattle; Sewald in particular has emerged as a high-end big league reliever. Justin Topa was acquired in a minor swap with the Brewers. Lefties Gabe Speier and Tayler Saucedo were both waiver claims. Chris Flexen was signed to an affordable two-year deal after one year in the KBO and gave the M’s two strong seasons before falling off in 2023.
Certainly, not every dart throw made by the team will yield a turnaround along the lines those success stories, but the Mariners have somewhat quietly built up a nice track record of maximizing results from unheralded acquisitions of just this nature.